Oxybenzone – a Harmful Ingredient in Sunscreen and Other Beauty Products


Do you know that not all sunscreens are made with the same ingredients?

Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists Oxybenzone and Octinoxate as UV filters with higher toxicity concerns.

Below is recap of important points from EWG’s website:

  • Oxybenzone was detected in nearly every American, found in mother’s milk, 1-9% skin penetration in lab studies.
  • Octinoxate was found in mothers’ milk; less than 1% skin penetration in human and laboratory studies
  • Titanium Dioxide had no finding of skin penetration
  • Zinc Oxide is an excellent UVA protection. It had less than 0.01% skin penetration in human volunteers.

I put myself on an assignment to verify the ingredients from the sunscreen displayed at the store and found Oxybenzone on major brands. Oxybenzone is not only used in sunscreen. EWG also found it in the following beauty products:

  • Facial Moisturizer
  • Lip Balm
  • Lipstick
  • Anti-aging Creams
  • Conditioner
  • Fragrance for Women

What is the concern of Oxybenzone we may ask? Studies show that oxybenzone may disrupt the hormone system and can cause allergic skin reactions.

The American Academy of Dermatology still recommends sunscreens with oxybenzone, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel confirmed the ingredient was safe for use in cosmetic products. The Skin Care Foundation acknowledges some of the concerns, but notes that research on oxybenzone is limited, and there’s just not enough evidence yet to call it dangerous.

Again according to EWG, “mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, usually in the form of nanoparticles. Mineral sunscreens usually rate better than chemical sunscreens for safety in the EWG database.”

It is up to us to decide what we put on our skin.